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Lindsay's first real planted tank.

Discussion in 'Aquascaping Journals' started by Linds, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. Linds

    Linds Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Hello everyone,

    I have come up with a scape for my tank that I like enough to start a journal and get the thing under way.

    1.jpg

    I certainly don't think the layout is perfect but I'm not up to filling and planting yet so I still have time to improve it. Being new to aquascaping I can only go from what I read and look at so I'd like some input from some more experienced than I on what to do next.

    I'm more than happy to change the hardscape around.

    So, the details are.

    Tank:
    78L (20gal) 75x35x30cm (30x

    Filters available Fluval 105, Eheim
    I'd like to use the Eheim because it has a built in heater.

    CO2:
    I have a presurised CO2 system with an inline diffuser ready to go.

    Lighting:
    I have a single fluorescent tube and reflector. It's plenty strong enough to grow lots of algae.

    Substrate:
    Not purchased yet but I'm thinking Black Sea Aquasoil or Amazonia. I'd love to use florabase but I can't find any locally. Black sea is slightly cheeper than ADA and isn't supposed to be as bad for ammonia spikes so I've read. Obviously the substrate in the photo is just so there is something there to play with until I get the real thing.

    Hardscape:
    The large wood in the tank is willow root. The smaller one is probably a shrub that fell victim to flood. It's a hardwood.
    The rocks are the rocks used on the road, just bigger. I think they are basalt, but not sure. Anyway they are charcoal tending to black under water. I have plenty to choose from.

    I also have a lot of other rocks if anyone thinks I should change.

    As far as a theme or goal. I love angelfish and various tetras so I think an Amazon sort of theme suits. I have little experience with aquatic plants so I don't want anything to hard for a beginner.

    I've never dosed a tank (as far as ferts go) but I am thinking EI is the way to go. I plan on buying my chemicals dry and making stock solutions (except for the trace elemnets). I have a moderate knowledge of chemistry and am comfortable with doing this. I just don't see the point in buying a solution of KNO3 if I can make it 10x cheaper. But I may also be missing something here.

    There may well be things I've missed or haven't thought about so feel free to comment.

    I'd really like some input on the layout so I can get the wood soaking :)

    Thanks in advance

    Linds
     

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  2. rufro1237

    rufro1237 New Member

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    It looks great so far!
    Will you be covering the exposed section with the new substrate?
    I also have little experience with plants, but I am able to grow some HC with just some Nutrafin Plant gro. If it's low-light, go with anubias or crypts. Nice grass, go with eleocharis species. HC makes a dense carpet. Mosses are also good for wood,
    Lighting might be an issue, because 1 fluorescent won't be enough for most plants. How many watts? I have 2x24watt T5s on a 30 gallon, which is barely enough.
    For fish, stay away from angels, 10+ inches vertically, and they eat most tetras. I have a pair of German Blue Rams, very beautiful. Cardinal tetras are amazing in my opinion, definitely the most colourful. Some mollies or platies are great. All these fish are South American, so soft water. Ottos and cories make great cleanup crews.
    I really love the layout, but my personal suggestion would be to bury the base of the large driftwood (right side) a little more. Looks like it's floating. Just my opinion, either way its beautiful!
    Congrats
    Michael
     
  3. Linds

    Linds Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Thanks. Yes, it will have some sort of gravel/sand. I don't know what to use yet.


    I'm quite happy to go with low light plants at this stage. I think the scape lend its self to it. High light would mean I have to get a new light. I'm not totally opposed to it, but I probably want to build one. I suppose it depends on what plant suggestions come forward and what I like the look of. I don't particularly want to be trimming it every week either.

    1x24 watt. What plants are you growing? Are they high light plants?

    I'm not comfortable using this watts/gallon thing. It just seems pretty irrelevant to me. What if I use LEDs for instance. I could get the same light output from 2x3W LEDs. But I can't get hold of a PAR meter so...

    Interesting. I've never grown one that big. But thanks for the advice.

    I love the look of the German rams, I especially like the electric blue variety. I have never seen them in either LFS nearest me though. I think I'd like to have a go with them though. How big are yours?

    I have kept mollies and platties before, I really want a schooling fish. As for tetras, yeah, I love the look of cardinals, never kept them, but I also like Pristella tetras, I had them once and they spawned in my community aquerium, it was pretty cool. It's funny, I like really the idea of really dull looking fish but also really bright ones.

    Thanks, that was what My dad said too and I agree. But as i told him, it will hopefully have plants around the base so it won't be noticeable. I will definitely bury it a little more if not though.

    Thanks a lot for your comments. I appreciate (and need) advice.

    Linds
     
  4. rufro1237

    rufro1237 New Member

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    My rams are about 2.5 inches right niw, but will grow to around 3.5. I thought they were pretty rare too, but it turns out that most larger LFSs will have them. Electric blue are beautiful but I haven't seen some for sale. But then again, I'm in Toronto so its not the most aquarium-friendly place.
    Pristella tetras are cool.
    Low light plants are mosses, anubias, cryptocoryne, java fern and maybe Dwarf hairgrass, but that might need a little more effort. Swords look great, too. The Hairgrass requires very little trimming once set up, as it will stay around 3-4 inches at most.
    Make sure there is no carbon in your filter.
    I don't use watt/gallon thing, I just judge from what other people post. So if I see someone say I have trouble growing this plant well with this kind of light/watts, then I compare it to mine, and see the difference. A lot of the stuff I learn is just by surfing forums, clicking on subjects I like, and go from there.
     
  5. Ed Villagracia

    Ed Villagracia Active Aquascaper

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    the large wood [willow root] looks nice but, for me, too big for the tank scape.
    i don't know. just my personal opinion(n)
     
  6. Linds

    Linds Aspiring Aquascaper

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    There is a place online here that sells them, but they are out of stock. But I'm not ready yet anyway.


    Ok. I like all those plants, except hair grass. It reminds me of weeds in my garden lol. I like the small swords, i think they look better as a carpet but I don't know anything much about them.

    Cool. I don't use carbon much.

    Cool. That's what I have been dong. But I haven't got to the comparing growth and things yet. I'm still getting setup to plant.

    So using watts per gallon I only have around 1W/gal. Definitely low light from what I can read.

    Linds
     
  7. Linds

    Linds Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Thanks for the comment Mr ED. I could try some other wood. and post pics.

    You seem to have a problem with my wood selection. First it was to small, now too big :ROFLMAO:

    I got some more wood yesterday I can try.

    Linds
     
  8. Ed Villagracia

    Ed Villagracia Active Aquascaper

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    :LOL:................... just wanted you to have a nice looking scape:)

    actually, without the wood the scape look already nice only try to avoid making two separate island.
    how? by making the back end closer to each other [note the upper portion of the letter "S"] to make it look one whole scape even if you have pathway. if you can add plant on to it so much the better. you can use moss on a wire mesh to act as barrier both sides of your pathway it will add beauty...really.

    in addition, some of your stones are well arranged esp the front left but the 3pcs at back are not. also fix the right side stones. then step backward and look at the stone arrangement imagine it as if already planted....how do it look. does it help the overall look of your scape?

    i am not an expert scaper. actually, i also learn and still learning the art of aquascaping from fellow ASW members and i luv them:love:.

    take your time and good luck;)
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Linds

    Linds Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Yes, and I thank you.

    Well I was going for something like these below, that's why I made it two islands.

    7-lin-tin-chuan-aquascapes.jpg test2uf.jpg


    However, my plan is to raise the whole lot slightly by putting in gravel where there is nothing on the bottom now and have the two sides gradually slope in. Is that what you mean or do you mean just have the path on the same level as the soil like these?

    004.jpg aga-aquascaping-contest-winner-7.jpg


    Ok, I've done some work on it. I removed and changed the rocks. I also removed the big piece of wood. I included both pics. personally I like the wood and would keep it there. I think it brings the scape into proportion. But maybe it puts it into proportion in my head because I see a different planting etc to you. I think without the wood there is too much 'open space'. So I tried with some smaller pieces of wood. I don't mind them but I prefer the bigger one.

    2013-02-03 15.25.19.jpg 2013-02-03 15.23.45.jpg 2013-02-03 15.23.57.jpg

    Do you still prefer the wood gone? Do you like the new rock work?

    Thank you. I appreciate your criticism. I find it a lot easier to learn if someone can tell me what is wrong and why.

    I only wish more people would comment on it. I posted the same thing on another forum and all I got was 'wow it look great'. Boosts my ego but it doesn't really improve my aquascaping. I'd prefer people to say they hate it because 'x' doesn't work or 'try moving this' like you have done.

    I'm champing at the bit to get going with planting, but I would prefer to get it right first. Then I need to decide on plants.

    Linds
     
  10. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]
    This is what I can see and it leaves me completely confused.
    The Red line is your eye sight flow. It starts of flat LH end then it climbs fast to a hump then a long slope to the RH front corner.
    The Green line would be a good eye flow
    [​IMG]
    This photo all I can see is three piles of rocks all small and similar shapes in other words those rocks do not have any character at all.
    [​IMG]
    This photo a pile of twigs that actually do nothing.

    Drift wood I actually like that piece of Drift Wood but not in that position or may be there at all.
    I will add more later
    Keith
     
  11. Linds

    Linds Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Hi Keith,

    Thanks for commenting. I had been hoping you might.

    I'll wait until you add more until I change anything.

    So a triangle is better than a hump I take it? Did you see the larger driftwood I had before I changed to that piece? I suppose it still does a similar thing.

    I think I can see why what I have doesn't work as well as the slope you suggest because in the closer pic I miss the LHS and basically leave a slope similar to what you are suggesting. when I took that pic I thought it looked better than the whole scape but didn't have a clue why.

    Thanks

    Linds
     
  12. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Linds
    I had most of your post done but Dinner was calling ( I do the cooking) I also have a cat who likes to walk over the keyboard.
    [​IMG]
    This is something of what I was thinking turning the DW around and trimming it a bit and fixing one piece as per rough sketch.

    If I was there I could do all the changes under 30 minutes (No Rocks) its very difficult just looking at a photo.

    Re Forum I agree I have seen some WOWWWS on some scapes a 5 yld could do better.

    You have not Joined the Forum I am an Advisor on other wise I would have answered this ages ago for you.

    Have a look at many Scapes and see how rocks can be placed and often a few character rocks well placed can make an Aquascape

    Keith:):)
     
  13. Linds

    Linds Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Ha ha! I know exactly what you mean. I had a cat that would love to lie on whatever I was doing. On paper is I was writing or drawing, on the keyboard, even in front of my sewing machine when I was sewing. o_O But I loved her.
    [​IMG]
    This is something of what I was thinking turning the DW around and trimming it a bit and fixing one piece as per rough sketch.

    If I was there I could do all the changes under 30 minutes (No Rocks) its very difficult just looking at a photo.[/quote]

    Ok, I should have said that it is actually two pieces of DW (plus the one on the left). I appreciate how hard it is to instruct people by distance. I'll give it a go, but I'm not sure I can see what you want.

    What forum is that?

    Trust me, I look at lots. I look at nothing much but aquariums at the moment. But it's hard to replicate.

    I can get different rocks. Those ones don't have a lot of character. they were just a colour I liked. I have them in any size you want though. I have rounded rocks by the millions, but gnarled or jagged rocks I'll have to go an dig for.

    Thanks again. I'll have another play with it.

    Linds
     
  14. Ed Villagracia

    Ed Villagracia Active Aquascaper

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    very nice inspirational tank scape. however, did you notice how those pro scapers
    hide [except one photo] the far end of the pathway? that is what i am trying to point out.

    oh oh keith is with you his a good adviser........i learned from him too.

    i saw you've changed the dw now looks proportion to the size of your tank.
    try playing it around by placing it the other way around. just one last try, and
    keith will do the rest:D
     
  15. Linds

    Linds Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Yes, you are right. I did notice as i was finding the photos.


    Yes. I saw a thread where he did such a good job helping another guy create something amazing.

    Ha ha. I'm trying to turn it around now and it just doesn't go.....oh well. I'll keep trying.

    Thanks

    Linds
     
  16. rufro1237

    rufro1237 New Member

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    View attachment 4542


    I think that the scape looks good in this pic, wood needs work (as the others said), but overall good. I thnk that you could emphasize the smaller piece of wood (left) by tilting it on its side, so it looks sorta like a kidney bean, with it "pointing" towards the right.
    It's great that you found other advisors for help, I'm sure they're more experienced than me :)
    Michael
     
  17. Linds

    Linds Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Thanks Michael.

    Like I said I can't get that wood to do anything I want it to on the left. Unfortunately without being in your head I can't see what you are wanting. :(

    I'll post more pics today. Hopefully you guys like this scape more. If not I'll go back to the previous one and work on it.

    Linds
     
  18. keithgh

    keithgh Moderator Staff Member

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    Linds

    I will PM re Aust Forum

    Keep trying and take a photo of every change and somewhere in those photos it will develop.

    Keith:):)
     
  19. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Something to keep in mind, if you look at the scapes you are using as an example notice how the hardscape does not touch the sides of the tank. When it does, it makes the tank look smaller and closed in. I liked the larger branch, or rather the thicker piece of wood, however it was too long stretching from one corner to the other. You could always cut it to size. I often find myself doing this with branches I like, but are too large to use in the way I want.

    Keith's comments on the site paths were good. Another thing to keep in mind to maintain depth is to think about a "vanishing point". I often heard about it in my art classes, however they often apply to our scapes. The paths disappearing in the background, etc. It also keeps the pieces flowing together so they do not seem to fight each other.

    There is much more hardscape than you realize in your example photos. There are many mosses, fern, and anubias. All of which are anchored on some type of hardscape. As things grow in, the hardscape gets hidden. Try to anticipate this. It is tough to do until you do several tanks and learn how plants grown and what they actually look like in person.
     
  20. Linds

    Linds Aspiring Aquascaper

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    Ah yeah, I see :)

    Cutting a nice piece of wood scares me. It's like cutting into a beautiful piece of fabric for the first time when I make a dress or hat. Once it's cut it's cut, no going back. But I can do it, I just have to work up to it or have a design in mind so I know how/where to cut it.

    Yeah, I struggle with sight lines. I've honestly tried to see what my eyes do when I look at other scapes, but to me I just look at it. I don't know how to begin practicing.

    I can often see vanishing points though.

    So would you suggest revisiting the thicker pieces of wood I have and trying again (cutting them down of course)? I have more wood that size.


    Yes, I appreciate this. I have looked at many pics of hardscapes and then the subsiquent planted tank. With some obvious exceptions where the hard scape is well exposed in the planted tank I have wondered before what the point is of getting the hard scape to flow and look perfect if I'm going to cover it up. Doesn't the placement of plants alter and interrupt the flow of a scape and totally change it?


    Linds
     
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